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Time for another crack at this.

Discussion
only good news, we're nine points above, this must be the year!
Fino alla fine
@bigmattb28 - Brennan has been a swiss army knife in front of goal, can score bangers with his head and feet. Don't jinx it like @Dan might.

@bcsaulJ - We?

____________________________________________

https://i.imgur.com/5hyJFQk.png


GIBRALTAR PREMIER DIVISION

MATCHDAY 18


https://i.imgur.com/wJcJa6w.png?1

I'd like to know if Brennan tested positive for anything pregame, single-handedly crushing the spirits of the 335 travelling Europa Point fans in front of their very eyes. Four goals and one beautiful assist to Akin Cevahir while Leclerc capped the scoring at six. Some outstanding goals in it all, I'd even go as far as to saying Europa Point's was the best of the bunch.

https://i.imgur.com/sKRuhaJ.png?1

Suffered a big blow ahead of the next game, McCulloch has been excellent at centre back this season.

MATCHDAY 19

https://i.imgur.com/qjsPOOz.png?1

Just. JUST ABOUT escaped with an important point at home to Cannons. The "defending" in the build up to Gefferson's opener was absolutely pathetic to the point where they'd have almost circumnavigated the box without a single challenge. Gefferson may have added to the woes with a second, rounding the keeper but amazingly dragged it wide. From that following goal kick, all the way up the other end Akin Cevahir mugged Bérmudez off to get to Brennan's cross first and smoke Cannons' narrow advantage. Will take this result all day long.

MATCHDAY 20

https://i.imgur.com/ybB3oR8.png?1

The case of quality over quantity, biding our time to move one step closer to the objective. With both teams feeling for range, the forgotten man Federico Vitali came onto the field at the perfect moment to throw the first punch and snatch the crucial winner. CJL legend no matter the outcome.

MATCHDAY 21

https://i.imgur.com/e9Yuarx.png?1

Rarely do I come away disappointed with a 2-0 win, for the fact that it only finished 2-0. Gibraltar United were gaping for a double digit scoreline and instead performed exhausting foreplay for the duration. Stewart Jackson's early free kick was pornographic, mind. Fitzy closed the deal to a quite underwhelming day in front of goal.

GIBRALTAR ROCK CUP

QUARTER FINAL

https://i.imgur.com/EJnttxn.png?1

Partially disgruntled, partially devastated (for the lads), partially relieved we can focus elsewhere. Shuffled the deck with the B-listers and still dominated. Was a bittersweet day for half-Cambodian CB prospect Ros Sovannara who grabbed his milestone first Boca goal, yet choked his penalty in the shootout. Phoenix had two shots on target, conveniently both netted by Caro and had to rely on Fitzy to take things to extra time. Bottled the shootout when we were just a single pen away from the semis. Gobsmacked to be perfectly honest.

https://i.imgur.com/94YUIlP.png?1

Oh, and now we've no natural right back for the end of season run in. gg.

RESULTS OVERVIEW

https://i.imgur.com/paPaWKA.png?1

A month of mixed emotions, mostly positive on the league front. This time last season we were crying out for more than one goalscorer, now we've options galore. Vitali may have grabbed the most important of the season.

LEAGUE TABLE

https://i.imgur.com/ZNV99cS.png?1

Surely...SURELY we can't lose it from here? Can we? One final duel with Lynx to come but with the tougher games are out of the way, we're clear favourites for the season blowout.

https://i.imgur.com/ISCOz2u.png?1

https://i.imgur.com/3FjKk4T.png?1
https://streamable.com/n8gst

https://i.imgur.com/7srMH85.png?1

Clean sweep of awards for March.
https://i.imgur.com/jkqweZW.png?1http://i.imgur.com/ZiZpv0k.png?1



and instead performed exhausting foreplay for the duration.

I laughed at that way harder then I think I shoudl've done!



Some free kick that!

I cannot see you blowing this lead now, surely just a matter of time before that league win is yours.
https://i.imgur.com/7Vv2P0g.png


GIBRALTAR PREMIER DIVISION

MATCHDAY 22


https://i.imgur.com/VrGzY2d.png?1

Unspectacular but a win is nothing to complain about. The two Stews combined as Peacock shunted in Jackson's right field cross in a game we more or less dominated. Liam Kelly had a header denied on the line and Brennan's dangerous meandering runs through the defense let him with little to no power behind his shots. Next up, Lynx.

MATCHDAY 23

https://i.imgur.com/szxn8A2.png?1

https://www.bandt.com.au/information/uploads/2018/06/TalkativeAcademicAfricangoldencat-size_restricted.gif

This is really happening. Wasteful Lynx whitewashed by our counter attacking plays in the second half after dominating the first. Young teenage right back Martin Porter cleared a certain goal off the line to deny Lynx any glory. Took mere seconds to send the home crowd into ecstasy with a slick move involving Peacock's cross, a flicked header by Brennan to an unmarked Jackson at the back stick. Went 5-3-2 to solidify our advantage, placing Peacock as an aux striker and boy did he finish like one to double the lead. Lynx's missed an absolute sitter before the second goal but did jangle a few nerves with Ibrahim Boateng squeezing one in past Godfrey. It mattered not as we hold a twelve point fortress with four games left, needing a single point to get it over the line. No bottles welcome.

MATCHDAY 24

https://i.imgur.com/2pEUf1D.png?1
https://i.imgur.com/m49TddL.png?1

The blood, the sweat, the frustration of managing in Gibraltar, all led up to this moment. Brutal to watch. Glorious to see it end with our mitts on the shield. CHAMPS OF THE ROCK!

MATCHDAY 25

https://i.imgur.com/UzypTMO.png?1

Out of office.

MATCHDAY 26

https://i.imgur.com/j02xMl9.png?1

More shooting practice with a rotated side against Europa Point. Eizmendi got the ball rolling with a lovely curler, Silvio Shehi finally got amongst the goals with a deflected free kick, Fitzy scored a worldie and Brennan punished a sloppy backpass. Three games, fifteen goals scored against EP. They'll be glad to see the back of me.

MATCHDAY 27

https://i.imgur.com/Ar2OdTs.png?1

https://i.imgur.com/IIt5Zjt.png?1
https://i.imgur.com/XbUJgbq.png

Imagine being a Joseph's fan reading this. To be honest they were good as gone and we just danced on their grave. Silvio Shehi must have been spending time on free kicks on the training ground to manage two goals in two games, both from frees. Fitzy tapped in a Brennan cross while Vitali's penalty wrapped the season up nicely.

RESULTS OVERVIEW

https://i.imgur.com/hxQmNkz.png?1

https://i.imgur.com/EjWBZgD.png?1

Depth in numbers, considering last season everything practically hinged on our strikers. Seven different goalscorers. Fitzy and Brennan are just different gravy compared to twelve months ago, especially Brenno who tore up the division. Silvio Shehi proving he has what it takes to slot into the first team midfield.

FINAL LEAGUE TABLE

https://i.imgur.com/FTCkStR.png?1

https://i.imgur.com/FZ5pZJP.png

Best points tally the club have achieved in over a decade. The tactical switch went so seamlessly perfect, scored goals for fun, defensively reinforced and seldom had many hiccups on the way. Lynx's poor start cost them dearly otherwise they'd have given it a right go for four titles in a row. Europa and Cannons completely tanked in the second half of the season. St Joseph's bit the bullet with Gibraltar United barely surviving.

https://i.imgur.com/xQPFnwD.png?1

When did this league become an overflowing treasure chest all of a sudden?

https://i.imgur.com/HxQxtNP.png?1

Shehi finished on a high, grabbing player of the month.

https://i.imgur.com/zTxtIOH.png?1

Oh yeah and I secured a fourth MotM award. Basically a cereal box prize these days.
https://i.imgur.com/jkqweZW.png?1http://i.imgur.com/ZiZpv0k.png?1



Yesssss, you can finally leave Gibraltar now.
At last! Knew it was coming, makes the hard work and torment over the last few years here worth it.
When you won the league
https://therockgear.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/therockmic-322x381.jpeg

Well done, been a long time coming
Well done on winning the league title with Boca Juniors (Gib). It'll be interesting to see what's next @DNZY.
Congrats getting that title!
My Careers:
FM15 | FM16 | FM17a | FM17b | FM19a | FM19b | FM19c
FM20I: Trip to: United States (w/ Cincinnati) https://i.imgur.com/FQLsK4I.png / II: Earth Trip https://i.imgur.com/WvSK16U.png (journeyman)
Championsssss! Congrats, man!
Fino alla fine
Quality pal, look forward to the next obscure location
@HawkAussie @Dan @bigmattb28 @Shedender @r96Skinner @bcsaulJ @KEZ_7 - Thank you all for the continued support! I apologise with the lack of posting recently, I'll be trying to post as regularly as possible!

____________________________________________

https://i.imgur.com/88Fso6C.png


https://i.imgur.com/ea82uja.png?1

To my surprise, the fully contracted Luke Brennan's outstanding goalscoring season was eclipsed by on loan Manchester United defender Liam Kelly's 44% of the vote to win the player of the season award...but I suppose if you score six goals from defence, you're definitely doing something right. Kelly also won the young player of the season award. The other United loanee Stewart Jackson also found his way into the top three with his superb right wing performances. There were far too many stunning goals to choose from, however Liam Fitzy's solo effort in the dead rubber versus Europa Point took the cake.

https://streamable.com/32hem

https://i.imgur.com/x4B4nUs.png?1

Luke Brennan doubled the amount of goals he netted last season with 22, also notched 10 assists and half a dozen MoTM awards to his name in an inspiring campaign for the former Millwall and Swansea striker. As mentioned Liam Kelly had a stalwart loan spell at centre back, 6 goals and involved in 18 clean sheets earned him the strongest AR of the season with a 7.55 average. Stewart Jackson was a slow burner in the beginning but contributed 12 assists from the right. On loan Javier Eizemendi slotted into the Tomeu Alonso role seamlessly as the deep lying playmaker and delivered pinpoint passing precision just shy of 90%. Both centre backs sacrificed many bookings while the only red of the season was a stupid Reginal Thomas challenge in that 0-0 with Olympique earlier in the season.

https://i.imgur.com/Av5eZs0.png?1

https://i.imgur.com/bob3tfe.png?1

Brenno deservedly won the GPD player of the year award along with the golden shoe (or some strange Gibraltarian equivalent).

https://i.imgur.com/cqyhQ1w.png?1

Twas a great season for Stewart Jackson too, the 21 year old grabbed young player of the season.

https://i.imgur.com/pPm1J5l.png?1

What a transformation, Lynx had five players each in team of the season yet only ended up with one this season in Robbie Kennedy (who wasn't even that good against us). Godfrey, McCulloch, Kelly, Jackson & Brennan all feature for Boca.

https://i.imgur.com/r5rkxdu.png?1

And of course the big cheese also earned an award as manager of the season. 77% win ratio, these things don't go unnoticed!
https://i.imgur.com/jkqweZW.png?1http://i.imgur.com/ZiZpv0k.png?1



https://i.imgur.com/KpHbkuB.png


UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

FIRST QUALIFYING ROUND DRAW

https://i.imgur.com/tvFaPAm.png?1

Letzeburgesch side Progrès get the pleasure of getting swatted first.

FIRST QUALIFYING ROUND

https://i.imgur.com/2v9duyf.png?1
https://i.imgur.com/mP5Ugj7.png?1

Nonchalantly smoking Progrès in 43 minutes. Youth products Ryan Sene and Jamie Perez shone bright in Luxembourg, two goals and three assists respectively. Luke Brennan could've easily racked up a hat-trick, though blazed a penalty over to settle with two goals, while Jackson grabbed the other.

Returning to base, another youth hopeful Max Sharpe lived up to his name with a wonderfully precise effort from range to kill off any unlikely comeback. Fitzy and Jackson's second half strikes added insult to injury in a one-sided tie.

SECOND QUALIFYING ROUND DRAW

https://i.imgur.com/JrWVnYv.png?1

Cymru awaits with Bangor City in the next round.

SECOND QUALIFYING ROUND

https://i.imgur.com/eia1PPh.png?1
https://i.imgur.com/FNtcOQv.png?1

With all due respect, our squad are just too good for these sides. Silvio Shehi instating himself into the first team midfield bagged his first CL goal in between an unfortunate o.g. and Luke Brennan's bread and butter type finish.

Bangor did make a dent early in the second leg but realistically had no way back. Brennan worked on his penalty taking to go into the break level, before inevitably doubling and tripling his tally. Fitzgerald kept the home crowd entertained to stroll to another heavy aggregate win.

THIRD QUALIFYING ROUND DRAW

https://i.imgur.com/mbu0Uw4.png?1

Now we're talking, a real challenge in Basel to cement a Europa League group stage position at minimum.

THIRD QUALIFYING ROUND

https://i.imgur.com/aYZ3hJK.png?1
https://i.imgur.com/mQt0JZ1.png?1

Lost to a striker who shares a name with a soft drink, a new low for me. Marcel Pepsi escaped his marker to fire in early from a corner which we were unable to recover from. Basel controlled the tempo and hit the crossbar from a free kick, but neither side had much substance in the final third overall. Even with the red card to Bacchetta, Basel's defensive fortress had us restricted to long range and barely tested their keeper.

The return leg didn't look good on paper, but we gave Basel the best of our abilities. Well that was after we succumbed to two sloppily conceded goals, bunched like bananas and left gaps everywhere. Second half slightly improved but defensive frailties remained as Pepsi tapped in number three, leaving it as a fight for pride. Basel's keeper Roger Burckhart played superbly to keep out numerous efforts, until a deflected effort where Fitzy grabbed the final touch to produce our only cheer of the game. Europa League it is.

UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE

PLAYOFF DRAW


https://i.imgur.com/f0ac2kp.png?1

Worst case scenario facing Galatasaray, can we upset the apple cart?

PLAYOFF

https://i.imgur.com/qbnANqU.png?1
https://i.imgur.com/QVlVIPo.png?1

Devastated, missed out by a technicality. In a first leg devoid of any quality, Gala managed to catch us on the break with substitute debutant Nihat Yilmaz sending Sam McCulloch to the shadow realm and confidently chipping over Godfrey to leave the Turks in control of the tie.

For all the marbles, we had no choice but to play on the front foot in Gibraltar. New signing for left wing, Marcos was left in space to sweep home into an empty net to level the tie...for about 65 seconds as Gala countered up the other send for Stevanovic to give the visitors the away goal advantage. No matter how hopeless it seemed, Brennan beat the offside trap to leave a tense final quarter of the game. Gala's experience in Europe favoured them, shutting up shop and preventing a massive upset. Away goal rule rears it's ugly head yet again.

https://i.imgur.com/xPFAIaR.png?1

And with that, I bow out of Gibraltar for good. It's been emotional.
https://i.imgur.com/jkqweZW.png?1http://i.imgur.com/ZiZpv0k.png?1



Ah, that's unfortunate! Unlucky.
Where next?
My Careers:
FM15 | FM16 | FM17a | FM17b | FM19a | FM19b | FM19c
FM20I: Trip to: United States (w/ Cincinnati) https://i.imgur.com/FQLsK4I.png / II: Earth Trip https://i.imgur.com/WvSK16U.png (journeyman)
@r96Skinner - You'll soon find out.

___________________________________________

http://i.imgur.com/TPYDYzY.png


https://i.imgur.com/W8rbJTK.png
https://i.imgur.com/jWHV8xm.png?1

Nation: Georgia
Media Prediction (Odds): 2nd/10 (7-1) (second tier)
Current Position: 5th
Expectations: Top half finish
Pros: Six points off promotion with nine games to go. Nothing to lose with expectations.
Cons: One win in last eight games in all comps. Out of Georgian cup. Nothing glamorous in the squad department.

RESULT

https://i.imgur.com/Ob6GRlN.png?1

As if a second tier club would have turned me down. Dare I drop down the tiers for work?


https://i.imgur.com/wDfN2C0.png
https://i.imgur.com/iGdizm6.png?1

Nation: Bosnia
Media Prediction (Odds): 3rd/12 (9-2)
Expectations: Challenge for title / European spots
Pros: Board willing to accept my suggestion(s). Predicted to qualify for Europe. Good positional squad depth. Great gateway job to Bosnian league.
Cons: Half a million in the red. No trophy is five seasons. No league title in two decades. Average squad age of 21-22.

RESULT

https://i.imgur.com/CBM5wT6.png?1

Damn, would have fancied taking them on too despite their flaws.


https://i.imgur.com/sCAgygn.png

Nation: Bosnia
Media Prediction (Odds): 2nd/12 (15-4)
Expectations: Challenge for title
Pros: Far wealthier than Željezničar. Predicted to make serious challenge for league. League winners three seasons ago.
Cons: Some key players have left this transfer window. Numerous long term injuries. Squad too focused on central areas.

RESULT

https://i.imgur.com/ov1bv4g.png?1

*sigh* It's pretty sad where your encyclopedic experience in football isn't enough to warrant a spot on the shortlist for a job in Bosnia...
https://i.imgur.com/jkqweZW.png?1http://i.imgur.com/ZiZpv0k.png?1



https://i.imgur.com/W8rbJTK.png

https://i.imgur.com/oPYJw4x.png
https://i.imgur.com/5G9ghEP.png?1

Some may be thinking “has he gone mad?”, and perhaps you’re right as I reduce myself to the Pirveli Liga (second tier) on my return to Georgia. FC Merani Martvili (მერანი მარტვილი) are a club initially founded back during the Soviet Union days in 1955 as Salkhino Gegechkori, transitioning into Chkondidi Martvili and Salkhino Martvili before settling on their current moniker in 2006. The name Merani refers to a mythological horse (or pegasus) representing ‘freedom’ cited in a famous poem written by Georgian poet Nikoloz Baratashvili in the 19th century and depicted in the current club badge. Red and white are their traditional kit colours.

https://i.imgur.com/pK0FkTm.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/y8mduik.jpg

Lying 280km, or a four and a half hour drive west of the capital Tbilisi, Martvili (მარტვილი) is a small city home to only 4500 people. Lying on the banks of the opalesque Abashistskali River, the city was originally named ‘Gegechkori’ (გეგეჭკორი) after Sasha Gegechkori, a Georgian Bolshevik activist involved in Sovietization of Georgia in 1921 but changed back after the fall of USSR. Officially declared as a city in 1964, Martvili may not be the largest in the nation but is surrounded in natural beauty, green trees and it’s breathtaking canyon leading into the smaller village of Gachedili (გაჭედილი). What makes it a city though? All answers point to the 7th century monastery rebuilt in the 10th century to what is now known as the Martvili-Chkondidi Cathedral.

https://i.imgur.com/IA0JsgN.png

Curtained by tall pine trees, the ‘Murtaz Khurtsilava’ stadium (or the Martvili Municipal Stadium) is the picturesque venue for home games. Named after the former defender who represented USSR at World Cup ’66 and Euro ’72, the ground holds a capacity of 2,000 people on what looks to be an astroturf surface, however it is unclear if this is the case due to the lack of documented information on this stadium, not even the year of it's official opening is known. All I can say is it looks breathtakingly beautiful for what it's worth.

https://i.imgur.com/ceBXmuM.png?1

Unfortunately Martvili and footballing success or honour do not go hand in hand in their short existence. Drafted into the Pirveli Liga (now called Liga 2) in 2007, the club came agonisingly close to promotion on three occasions with consecutive third placed finishes until eventually a second place finish ensured promotion to the Umaglesi Liga in 2011. Mid-table mediocrity greeted them in the top flight before eventually being relegated in 2016 in cruel head-to-head record circumstances with Zugdidi. Financial struggles were to soon hit (or at least I’m guessing); despite finishing second the following year, they were denied entry back to the Umaglesi Liga and if that weren’t enough punishment, the pegasus lost it’s wings and fell further down the pyramid in 2018 to Liga 3 but thankfully made a swift return to Liga 2 at the first attempt. Martvili did however make headway in the Davit Kipiani Cup (Georgian Cup) with a semi final appearance in 2010, losing to eventual winners WIT Georgia and even closer in 2016 but couldn’t upset Torpedo Kutaisi in the final and folding to a 2-1 defeat. Understandably, the club have never came within a whisker of European football.


FM ERA

https://i.imgur.com/0Hihd69.png

Ignoring the obvious flaw with them winning the Pirveli Liga in 2018 which is categorically false, the club still haven't reaped much success other than the same league trophy in 2021 and 2037. Lately they've had yo-yo motions between the top tier and second tier, scraping promotions as they see fit with seven runner up spots, which is hardly an honour worth mentioning. The closest Martvili reached in the cup was a measly semi-final in 2059, edged out by Lokomotivi Tbilisi 2 goals to 1. Honestly? I only see it as a stepping stone in my career, haven't achieved a promotion yet in this save and would be a solid way to start.

CURRENT SEASON

https://i.imgur.com/zxjhwU5.png?1

With only nine games remaining in the season and leaning on the wrong side of form, promotion is not completely out of the question should we steady the ship. Basically a full round of fixtures means we'll have some crucial six pointers but also opportunities against some bottomfeeders like poor old Liakhvi Tskhinvali, good Lord being part of that setup would crush anyone's self confidence. Achievable? Yes. Expected? Not exactly. Let's get to work.

https://i.imgur.com/4KQhNWi.png?1

To be honest, their first half of the season was more than satisfactory...but this is a side chasing promotion. One victory in eight, dumped out of the Georgian cup which leaves our focus solely on the objective at hand. Certainly not a one man team by the looks of things so perhaps there is a degree of teamwork embedded already.

SQUAD

https://i.imgur.com/uBgS3eh.png?1

Expected a lot worse, their squad ability is actually quite good to gain promotion so what's the big deal here? Player form hasn't been atrocious, morale is steady, slightly worrying our top goalscorer Novitskiy only has six to his name but we won't weigh emphasis on that too much. Squad size may be a little thin but can easily sort that if we go up, the caveat being the possibility of losing some key players in the event of missing out on promotion. At least our star man is nailed down until the end of next season.

KEY PLAYER - Shermadin Mikeladze - M(R)

https://i.imgur.com/de4FzML.png

He's no Stewart Jackson, but he'll definitely do. Has got all the basic attributes of a winger into green territory with crossing, technique, acceleration and pace reaching 13 or over. Still has outstanding determination as he pushes into his thirties. I'll be extremely happy to keep him through the next transfer window. Leader of the pack too.

EXPECTATIONS

https://i.imgur.com/FNTD5rb.png?1

Top half finish will be ezpz if my predictions are correct. Not going to worry about that insulting transfer budget until next year, at least a five figure wage budget makes up for it. Time to get down and dirty.
https://i.imgur.com/jkqweZW.png?1http://i.imgur.com/ZiZpv0k.png?1



Unlucky in the Champs League dude, no shame in going out to Galatasaray, away goal or not. Good luck in Georgia!
Good luck in Georgia, though you deserve a better level...!
btw I really like your presentations of the new team and city
Fino alla fine
@bigmattb28 - No shame indeed, just a bit bummed that we were that close to a group stage.

@bcsaulJ - Unfortunately there weren't any other jobs to go for than those three. Thanks for the feedback, really appreciate that you're enjoying the club overviews which do take a while to complete!

___________________________________________

FORMAT CHANGE: At the risk of taking forever in getting updates out, I've decided to abandon the monthly roundups and take larger chunks of time, only going over key games as match reports while the rest are briefly summarised. Let me know if you prefer this sort of format.

https://i.imgur.com/BPtPQrT.png


KEY GAMES

PIRVELI LIGA

MATCHDAY 31

https://i.imgur.com/NVTUlg2.png?1

Samegrelo are the supposed leaders of the division, not the impression I got as we somehow failed to win the game. Yegor Piskunov and Moses Osei both struck the post in either half and making their keeper sweat while Samegrelo failed to hit the target. Solid point, disappointing that we dropped the other two.

MATCHDAY 33

https://i.imgur.com/EVc7jpG.png?1

This was a major blow, not only missing out on being champions but also the promotion race. Twice in front, twice pegged back thanks to two goalkeeping blunders from Kuznetsov. Shiryaev got the ball rolling early with a curling free kick, but dabbed out by Svanidze's looping cross going over everyone into the net. Piskunov thought he'd won it after catching the rebound of his missed penalty in the final fifteen minutes. Alas, Betlemi went route one and caught Kuznetsov and Bediashvilli out in a web of miscommunication to allow Andrey Konkin to sidefoot home as injury time neared. May live to regret this result.

MATCHDAY 35

https://i.imgur.com/JbtSNzE.png?1

An attacking masterclass to outclass title chasing Saburtalo. Moses Osei yet again on fire from midfield with two sensational hits from range on either side of early second half goals from Mikeladze and red hot Piskunov to coast to a 4-0 lead. The visitors stole one for pride at the death will an equally brilliant long ranger but it matters not to the side already going up next year. Are we going to join them though?

RESULTS OVERVIEW

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Elsewhere, life at Martvili started positively with wins over the bottom two clubs WIT Georgia & Liakhvi before somehow weathering an Algeti storm to escape with a goalless draw, including Kuznetsov saving two penalties.
Piskunov and Novitskiy combined to overthrow ten men Shukura with ease and despite the taxing draw away to Betlemi, team spirit and confidence was still rolling sky high to conclude the season with a trio of victories against Guria, Saburtalo and Machakhela for one last push for promotion.

Question is - were our efforts in vain?

FINAL LEAGUE TABLE

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Unfortunately, yes. Even with a nine game unbeaten streak, Samegrelo held on by two points to get promoted with Saburtalo. Can't help but question the scoreless draw with them which could have been the fine difference in the final stretch. I won't beat myself up over it, didn't lose a single game in charge and the team I have are good enough to fight for it next season.
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TRANSFERS

IN


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Seven new recruits to the squad in the aim to boost us to promotion…well, technically six. One was a gentle reminder not to be your own scout and signing someone on a whim.

https://i.imgur.com/uZlHHDN.png

Mikheil Gavaketashvili – M(L)/AM(L) – unattached free agent

Definitely a signing under very false pretenses. The right midfield department was looking rather understocked so pounded the pavement to find someone remotely interested in keeping the bench warm and this guy with Umaglesi Liga experience would do fine….until I found out that he plays on the left, a position we were fine in. Making matters even worse, I stupidly gave him a two year deal. Oh dear.

https://i.imgur.com/Zy0LUWb.png

Alan Bobrov – M(R)/AM(R) – unattached free agent

In light of my farcical miscalculation, I found a proper candidate to play second fiddle to Mikeladze. Former Shakhtar youth academy hopeful, Bobrov doesn’t hold a candle to our captain but provides us with the more advanced wing option should he be called upon. Concerned about his casual personality but he was economically persuaded with a low wage.

https://i.imgur.com/nyOzJL6.png

Ulisses – D(C) – unattached free agent

Pretty much the marquee permanent signing as agent offers once again come in useful. Despite not playing a single game for his old club in Brazil, the 21 year old looks mentally and physically brilliant with his HMT rock solid. Potential windfall for fans of James Joyce too.

https://i.imgur.com/v9RzNgA.png

Artem Zaikin – M(C) – six month loan from Bastion

More creativity added to the midfield triangle in a tried and tested 4-4-1-1 formation. Not expecting him to set the world on fire but has the technical bones of a playmaker, combined with strong vision to make killer passes in times of need. A safe, no risk signing.

https://i.imgur.com/RghHqR0.png

Giorgi Tsikharishvili – M(L)/AM(L) – season long loan from Lokomotivi Tbilisi

Fallen out of favour with his recently relegated parent club, we’re providing the pacy left winger with a new opportunity. The form needs to improve immediately but willing to risk him as the first choice, especially since his set piece game is on point.

https://i.imgur.com/MoFJ2kl.png

Mario Gilabert – GK – unattached free agent

You may recall this guy as my third choice keeper at Boca (GIB) who was never breaking into that squad past Godfrey or Webb, well this may be his opportunity to lock down the number one choice. Standard run of the mill, good height and reach, good agility, strong handling, lack of game time in his career is the only caveat.

Never had an intention to invest in another goalkeeper…only for this piece of news to land on my desk.

https://i.imgur.com/rkB08hn.png?1

I mean, you were relegated the season before last and didn’t kick up a fuss. Enjoy the bench, Maxim.

Vitaly Terekhov – D(R) –
season long loan from Samtredia

https://i.imgur.com/bi1eGmO.png

Taking a gamble with this Ukrainian right back, given his awful recent form would fly red flags to any club. As long as he stands strong, doesn’t get too caught out of position, maintains concentration and clears safely it’ll be a successful loan signing given that our only other natural RB is out long term.

SEASON EXPECTATIONS

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Looking like a rough promotion battle between a contingent of capable teams. Relegated Sioni & Lokomotivi Tbilisi are the obvious candidates, but newly promoted Rustavi have a legion of overpowered players who certainly wouldn’t look out of place for most if not all top flight teams. 6-1 for the grand prize, I’m hoping my newly shaped team can eat those odds.

https://i.imgur.com/tFCV6oM.png?1

Board giving me an ultimatum, its promotion or bust. The other avenue is a cup run but for the sake of it, the return to the Umaglesi Liga takes priority.
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For me ideally, I want to have it on a half-season basis unless it's really close at the top of the table with only few games to go. If that is the case, I would do it by matchday.
@HawkAussie - I'm more thinking of dividing it into thirds or quarters of the season, it'll depend on how the narrative goes. Appreciate the feedback though.

___________________________________________

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KEY GAMES

PIRVELI LIGA


MATCHDAY 1


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What a statement to make in the first game. I expected a tight encounter with Lokomotivi Tbilisi, but it looked like they were still recovering from the shock of last year's relegation. A brace from our returning loan striker Yegor Piskunov and Brazilian mathematician Arquimedes had us cruising into a comfortable 3-0 half time advantage. Artem Zaikin marked his debut off the bench with a sweeping strike from Mikeladze's cross for four, while Piskunov completed a deserved hat-trick on the counter in the final ten minutes. Can you tell we're not messing around this season?

MATCHDAY 2

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Two games in, two promotion candidates taken down a peg. Although our first half dominance was quite pronounced, Rustavi squirmed their way into the lead with their only shot on target - Gavrilov drilling low on the greasy surface to dupe Otar Khutsidze in net. The second half response was more than effective to oust Rustavi's slim advantage; Roman Yakovenko headed in just two minutes after the restart and a debut goal from Alan Bobrov with a deflected free kick resigned the home side to a costly defeat. Still no defeats under my Martvili reign - who's next?

MATCHDAY 6

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At the fifteenth attempt, I finally lost a game to a tyrannizing Sioni side. Although Sergey Shiryaev briefly eliminated Sioni's lead, their front three were frighteningly good at finishing as Tretjakov and Bryzhytskyi helped themselves to a goal buffet. Despite the visitors' attacking threat, they were still vulnerable on the counter as Mikeladze's deep cross was met with a tap in from Moses Osei to make it a close contest. Unfortunately, the previously relegated side tightened their grip on the game to hand us my first Martvili L.

MATCHDAY 9

https://i.imgur.com/F6NNfFg.png?1

Who doesn't love a late goal? This match could've gone either way with fellow promotion hunters Shukura. An early penalty miss and a superb save gave a heap of confidence to Khutsidze in net, but could do nothing about Gaprindashvili's sensational arrowing hit into the top corner from 25 yards out. It was another bad day at the office up front for the usual goalmonger Yegor Piskunov, however substitute striker Grigol Khundadze stole the limelight as he escaped the offside trap to provide some last minute limbs for the travelling faithful. Mind you, this result brought a serious problem post-match.

https://i.imgur.com/RHZkCsK.png?1

And you'll see why Osei's injury was so damaging.

RESULTS OVERVIEW

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Carrying on from our first two victories, Algeti, Machakhela (just about) and Betlemi met the same fate to construct an eight game winning streak before Sioni came barging into town.

That Sioni defeat definitely rattled us as we somehow tripped up to basement dwellers STU in a horribly scrappy and embarrassing performance.

Guria were no trouble at all, exploiting their fragile defensive core with route one football and Yegor Piskunov having an absolute field day.

And here is where Osei's injury took centre stage after the Shukura draw. Drawn into so many errors with nobody to break up the midfield play.

Piskunov's piss poor finishing amounted to a key loss away to Lokomotivi Tbilisi, bottled a crucial lead at home to Rustavi, slouched to an ill-disciplined and heavy home defeat to Algeti finishing with nine men in the process and finally rounded off with yet another miserable duck egg away to Machakhela.

https://i.imgur.com/5tZzcOA.png?1

This ain't it chief.

LEAGUE TABLE

https://i.imgur.com/q9057Xp.png?1

Not a position I'd like to be in. After building an early lead, we kept top spot warm for rampant Sioni by ways of our sloppy form. Now all of a sudden the promotion talk is taking a backseat; five other teams are gravitating to that second spot held currently by Guria. Shukura, Rustavi and Betlemi licking their lips at the prospect too. Surprised how poorly Lokomotivi Tbilisi have started but have a sneaking suspicion they'll get their second wind. Still seething at how we somehow drew to relegation favourites STU.
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I have been away from FM since october! But now I want to play FM again, and then I also want to read about it.

I have just catch up on this fantastic story! Nice with the trophy in Georgien, and good start in this new country, I am sure wou wil be back on the winning streak from next game
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